Letter: Let’s rewrite ‘meth and modernism’ line

From: Sheryl Nulph


What is it they say? “The truth hurts.” That’s exactly what I am feeling with the reviews I read of the “Columbus” movie that opens here in September. Almost every review makes mention of the line in the movie spoken by the female character born and raised here: “Meth and modernism are really big here.”

That line stings.

Please don’t get me wrong. The reviews are outstanding, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about this movie. I was one of the first in line the day tickets went on sale. I am so happy for the recognition Columbus will receive as a result of not only this movie, but the current Exhibit Columbus event now taking place. Still, the “meth and modernism” line keeps haunting me and taking away a bit of the pride I’m feeling for my city.

I know our city leaders are doing what they can to combat a problem that is not unique to cities our size all over the country. Rarely a day goes by when The Republic does not have a story about someone being arrested for possession of meth or other controlled substances. However, living in the historic downtown, I walk right by some of our architectural wonders only to look down and see a discarded syringe on the ground. Meth and modernism. Beauty and despair living side by side.

Having grown up in Columbus and having been involved for most of my childhood and adult life in the world of dance and theater arts, I ask myself what function architecture and art in general have in instilling a sense of purpose and self-worth? Is it a tool to be used with our young people to guide them on a path away from using drugs as a recreation or as an escape? I’m not making accusations or suggesting I have an answer. I’m just asking questions.

This movie will hold a mirror up for us to see a painful truth. As a city, I think we must ask ourselves how we can act on and possibly change that truth. “Meth and modernism are really big here.” That is a line that I hope we can rewrite.